Dale Carpenter over at the Volokh Conspiracy returns to a subject that I’m always amazed more people don’t talk about: the vast majority of Republican politicians and staffers in Washington aren’t actually anti-gay. We’re not just talking about the Log Cabin Republicans either: we’re talking about many people within RNC, that work on Republican campaigns, that serve as Congressional staff, and so on. Nor is this even a secret among Republicans in Washington. It just isn’t talked about in public.
This most-recent case of (R)Senator Larry Craig’s arrest, supposedly for “cruising” an airport bathroom, just underscores that this is a party in which the base is grossly out of touch with the professional class that runs it in Washington D.C. While Republicans in the capitol have learned to keep their tolerant attitudes quiet by token oppositions to gay rights, this juggling act can’t go on forever. Someday, perhaps soon, the Republican party is either going to have to come to face with itself and end their de facto “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gay politicians and staffers, or outright purge the party of homosexual leaders and employees. Carpenter believes that the latter is pragmatically impossible. We’ll see if Republican leaders can gather the guts to do the former before this issue tears them apart.
(By the way, gay or straight, I think that there is a good case to be made that Senator Craig got railroaded here: nothing in his charged conduct was actually illegal as far as I can tell, and he was basically blackmailed into pleading guilty on disorderly conduct so as to avoid the publicity of trying to refute the allegations publicly in court.)